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Ultra-processed foods may increase cancer risk

Study shows greater consumption leads to higher risk but research is needed to determine exact cause
Man in supermarket browsing biscuit section

Study shows greater consumption leads to higher risk but research is needed to determine exact cause

Cancer can occur at any age but it is much more common in older people. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, about a third of cancers could be avoided by changing lifestyle. A balanced diet and avoiding tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are known to be important but this study explored the particular association between ultra-processed food and cancer.

Researchers asked 104,980 participants to complete repeated 24-hour dietary records. Results showed that those with high ultra-processed food consumption had a significantly increased risk of breast cancer and cancer overall. There are various possible mechanisms for the increased risk. Ultra-processed food tends to be higher in fat and sugar and lower in fibre and micronutrients. This may

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